Long-tailed Ducks in Dunkirk Harbor


Just a beautiful duck…on clear blue, COLD, Lake Erie. I have a lot of photos of this duck because I think it is one handsome arctic sea-bird. You have to admire a bird the can dive up to 200 feet for dinner of mollusks, shrimp, crabs, aquatic vegetation, and insects, even some fish. I do because I won’t even go down 20 feet into water.


Unlike other ducks that paddle their way down when diving, this duck folds its wings to propel itself. I never found out why it has that skinny, long tail, but it must help in the dive, otherwise, the pointy tail seems pointless. Maybe it turns into a fast-spinning propeller.  Just kidding.


I visited Dunkirk Harbor this week which is off Lake Erie in NY. Most of the lake is still frozen and the eagles, ducks, geese, and swans all congregate in the harbor in the open water for feeding. Eagles perch on the ice or break wall waiting for dead ducks to surface in the warming temperatures.


Departed Duck

At least that is a better thought than them ripping the live ducks apart. It is a birdy eat birdy war out there in winter.

The harbor is off the Dunkirk NY Power Plant, one of the large coal plants that faced closure that is now slated for conversion to natural gas. A micro-climate for ducks, the warm effluent from the power plant keeps the harbor ice-free which attracts diving ducks when the rest of Lake Erie freezes.


These particular ducks are better prepared for cold weather and have an advantage by deep diving for food, but they need open water. They even look like they wear tiny parkas.

Fish are warmed by the heated water as well and come in toward shore. Ice fisherman are in the gallery above. It is not too warm for them though as the cold winter winds blow.


On GWGT…Eagle Watch. A look at all the places I have been seeing the Bald Eagles this year.

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12 Responses to Long-tailed Ducks in Dunkirk Harbor

  1. alesiablogs says:

    He is oh so beautiful!

  2. eulalia says:

    Very beautifullllllll

  3. bittster says:

    Beautiful duck and great pictures. I miss having accessible bodies of water nearby and I miss the waterfowl!

  4. I can almost feel the water. Great photos!

  5. aussiebirder says:

    Most unusual ducks, beautifully depicted, thanks!

  6. 🙂 ‘ fast-spinning propeller’ !!! [love those two dive shots!]
    Quite an efficient duck, 200 feet is a lot!
    Have a beautiful Tuesday, Donna! 🙂

  7. My Heartsong says:

    Really neat little ducks. Did the dead one freeze in the ice, it seems to look that way.They overwinter here as well near the water -processing plant and this is also where the eagles come to feed.

  8. Pat says:

    That is a good-looking duck!

  9. Annette says:

    hi Donna, thanks for finding me! I look forward to following your blog – I adore all things wild, best wishes 🙂

  10. Annette says:

    PS: Oh dear, I had to laugh…sorry for not recognizing you, Donna, I should have as the red cardinal seriously rang a bell but I didn’t think you’d be having two blogs, clever girl!

  11. Lyle Krahn says:

    That’s a beauty. I’ve never seen it before.

  12. Oh Donna what amazing pics….I am so taken by how you captured these ducks in action and showed their beautiful tails. I am hoping to visit our local lake more often this year….so much to see.

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